Sin has consequences, but so does repentance. Throughout the Bible, we can see a big difference in how God treats the wicked and how He treats the righteous. And, of course, the only way to righteousness is through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Recently, I was offered a front-row seat to a redemption story that had Joel 2:25 written all over it. A family from my church found and “adopted” a homeless man. More importantly than that, God adopted Him into His family and began to restore the years the locusts had eaten. (Contains photographs of his journey.)
The Situation in Joel
In Joel Chapter 1, God was not happy with His people, and the land had been made desolate. It “mourned.” God brought a word to Joel reminding him that the successive plagues of devouring insects had been thorough in their destruction. Joel 1:4 says, “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten, and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten, and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.” In fact, the corn was gone and so was the barley. So was the vine, the fig, the pomegranate, the palm, and the apple because “joy is withered away from the sons of men” (Joel 1:12). The situation was so dire that the rivers had dried up, and the animals cried for hunger. Finally, there was nothing left even to sacrifice to the Lord, so the meat and drink offerings had to stop.
See, up to that point, things had been humming along as usual. The people of God were far from God in their hearts, but the sacrifices continued as if everything was fine. Commentators believe there were four years in which things just got worse and worse, but it wasn’t until God’s judgment took away even that which they would have sacrificed to God that the people were finally forced to stop and look around at their condition. When they did, there was only one thing left to do. They called a fast and cried out to the Lord. The Lord heard them and promised in Joel 2:25 to restore the years the locusts had eaten.
Restoring the Years the Locusts Have Eaten
“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”Joel 2:25
Now, of course, time that is lost is gone forever, but the results of those years can be restored by God. For the Jewish people, God brought back the springs of water, the fertile fields, and the former and the latter rains. In the place of judgment and lack, He left a blessing of abundance. God’s judgment on His disobedient people was reversed when they came to Him in humble repentance and submission.
God still brings blessings to those who belong to Him today. Years lost to sin and self can never be returned, but the blessings of God that would have come from serving Him can be had in abundance by all those who turn to Him in faith.
The Bible in Real Time
“Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”Isaiah 58:7
As Christians, we are supposed to live what we believe. At my church, we believe in outreach. A couple recently had signs made, and we started going out some Saturday afternoons to evangelize and minister to the homeless population in my town.
We had been doing that for just a few weeks when that same couple took a particular interest in a homeless man they had met. He seemed to be responding to the Gospel message. The weather was still cold, and I remember them asking us to pray one cold, dark night as they gathered a tent, sleeping bag, and other items and attempted to find him to help him get through the storm that was coming in.
The man’s name is John. This couple kept seeking him out, talking to him about Jesus. The family documented their journey with John on Facebook.
As you read through the entries, see how God turned a homeless man into a man with a family, a hopeless man into a man with a future, and a man dead in sin into a man alive and filled with life in Jesus.
From Atheism to Christianity
“Today we are watching a man we’ve been ministering to from the street find healing, help, and salvation. God is taking him from a life of atheism to Christianity. He’s becoming a new man before our eyes. He’s still homeless, without documentation, and has so many needs in the natural, but this guy has a smile and is being wrapped in mercy and grace. It’s the most beautiful sight to behold.
Please pray for John!!!!
When you sow, sow to reap a HARVEST for Jesus! We CAN see the results. Love covers a multitude of sins. It removes shame. It gives hope and new beginnings!
Today was his first time ever to be inside a church for a service. God did that!”
John said, “I don’t know what’s happening to me, it’s like I’m a new man. Everyone’s smiling. Thank you for smiling. Your sign said the wages of sin is death. I’ve been dead as a homeless man, but God has used this to bring me here.”
“It’s truly more blessed to give than receive. Watching this guy find hope, healing, and dignity and draw closer to Jesus has been a blessing.
We’re honored to be the ones he found on his journey to the cross. Maybe I can get him to write his testimony soon!”
“From Atheism to homelessness to Christianity …We have a new family member. Thank you for praying for John!”
“John really needs some Hearing aids. With the extent of his hearing loss, the best ones for him (Eargo) look like they’ll be $2700! Does anyone have any other recommendations? He’s looking at months (at least 2) before any medical help can be given since he’s only 61.”
Matthew 28:19-20 KJV
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
“JOHN… He’s becoming a disciple of Jesus. 3 weeks ago, we found him on this sidewalk; the sign he read he now holds. “
From Homeless to Family Member
“John is no longer the ‘homeless guy;’ he’s part of the family. I’m thankful God sent him to us. We need him and he needs us. He’s becoming a great friend, and his smiles get bigger each day. He’s not a burden, he’s a blessing. He’s ‘worth it,’ just as we each were when Christ rescued us.”
“God is good. John got his hearing aids. We’re so thankful to the Miracle-Ear Foundation and the local team here for their love, dedication, & skills during this process. They have been outstanding and will continue working with John in the weeks ahead. These hearing aids are the best!”
“Today john was given another gift, the gift of hearing! Now he can hear at church instead of relying on my note-taking, sing along, go to job interviews, and find his way in a world of sound!”
“John was an atheist his whole life until he found the love of God after a suicide attempt and becoming homeless 3 years ago. His hearing loss is so significant, almost off the charts. This caused problems rehabilitating on his own. He was robbed, lost all documentation, and couldn’t catch a break until he began to say yes to Jesus. He’s found dignity again and a new life in Christ.”
Restoring the Years the Locusts Have Eaten
When people aren’t serving God, they don’t get His blessings. In fact, sometimes things can get very dire when God is trying to get someone’s attention. The answer is always to repent from our sins to follow Jesus with our whole hearts. Then God can restore the years the locusts have eaten. He can give love in the place of loneliness, hope in the place of despair, and life in the place of death. He is still in the business of redemption and restoration. God, please use us as Your hands and feet to bring others to You!
If you like to look closely at scripture, try Psalm 107: God Hears the Cries of the Desperate. Or, try Twinkly Trash: A Closer Look at Job 28. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email inbox. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.
4 thoughts on “God Can Restore the Years of the Locusts”
What a wonderful story of redemption. Where would any of us be if it wasn’t for the love of God! Kudos to you and your church for being his hands and feet ❤️
That couple in our church is very special. I’m blessed to labor with them. May we all learn to be more sensitive to those in need. Glory to God!
Wonderful post & inspiring story!
Thank you! Yes, God can do great things with people willing to step out in faith to serve Him. This couple is a real inspiration to me, for sure!